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Old 02-03-2011, 03:09 PM   #1
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lawn tractor starter


I have a Murray lawn tractor with a Briggs and stratton engine. When I turn the ignition, the starter gear spins, but does not engage the flywheel to start the engine. Do I need a new starter, or is it something else.

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Old 02-03-2011, 03:21 PM   #2
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Ayuh,.... It could just be boogered up...
Take it apart, 'n clean it, then lube it...

If that don't work,... Replace it...

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Old 02-03-2011, 03:32 PM   #3
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With a screwdriver, or whatever you can get in there, try manually extending the gear on the starter a few times, and then try it. The grease looses some of its' lubricity over time, and, particularly if it is cold where you are, it can prevent the gear from extending. As Bondo said, you may only need to clean and re-lube it.
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:39 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info. Is the gear supposed to engage the flywheel when I apply the brake? It is spinning but not engaging the flywheel
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Old 02-04-2011, 07:46 AM   #5
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Ayuh,.. The bendix gear should engage the flywheel, ONLY when the starter is powered up...
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Old 02-04-2011, 08:43 AM   #6
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Could also be a bad flywheel or the starter gear itself. Cogs may be missing. If you can turn the engine by hand with the screen on top of the engine. This will reposition the flywheel. If it cranks after doing this, it can be an indication the flywheel has a bad spot in it.

If it has a piece covering the bendix or nose of the starter, remove it so you can see what the starter gear is doing and the condition of the teeth on the gear itself.

Chances are it is sticking. Lube with a little lithium grease, but not enough to be a dust collector.
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Old 02-04-2011, 11:25 AM   #7
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Thanks, I can see the starter gear spinning, but below the flywheel. I took the starter out, but gear will not stay up in position, continues to fall down. Do I need new starter?
Thanks
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Old 02-04-2011, 11:56 AM   #8
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That's fine that it is falling back; it's supposed to. As Bondo said, it should extend only when the starter is energized, i.e. when you have the switch in the "start position", and then, when you release the key to the "run" position, the starter is no longer energized, and the gear should fall out of the way of the flywheel. So, since you have it removed, when you energize the starter, does the gear extend? If it does not, the starter needs to be cleaned and lubed, rebuilt, or replaced. If the gear does extend, does it still extend when it is installed on the engine. If it does extend when installed on the engine, but still does not turn the engine, you probably have the situation that Boman described, i.e stripped teeth, which you should be able to see. If it extends when off of the engine, but does not extend when on the engine, you probably just need to clean under the gear, and lube the shaft as Boman described, i.e. lithium grease, which will provide lubricity without holding a bunch of gunk.
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Old 02-04-2011, 03:07 PM   #9
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Tj, look at the middle of the starter gear. You should see deep grooves similiar to rifling in a gun barrel. When the starter is engaged in the start position at the switch, The starter gear itself rides these grooves up to engage the flywheel. The gear and or the grooves on the drive can get worn and bind. The steel shaft may a little rust buildup on it. Clean it with a little sanding to ensure it is smooth and clean.

You should be able to replace the starter drive if need be and not have to buy a whole starter. Plastic mat's just don't hold up like metal.

Last edited by boman47k; 02-04-2011 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 07-01-2011, 05:03 PM   #10
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Thanks! My 21 HP Briggs (Craftsman) is only two years old - the starter would spin but not engage the flywheel. Two weeks ago the tractor was doing the same thing so I opened up the cowling and found a large mouse nest and a mouse staring at me. I had to shoo her out of there. The problem then was a dead mouse caught between the bendix gear and the starter housing...it started right up when I removed the dear departed. Today - same thing - I opened it up but no new mouse nest as I had feared. But the Bendix would not spin up. I googled the problem and found this site and thread which lead me to lubricate the Bendix until it freed up. Problem solved. I guess dead mouse gunk had solidified on the 'spinner'. Great site, saved me some money I'm sure!
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Old 07-01-2011, 06:59 PM   #11
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Welcome to (as one of our moderators has been known to say) "the best doggone DIY site on the web". Well, that's not what he says, but it's something close to that. Anyway, there is a fee for the service; you have to not only come back with questions, but to share your knowledge with others who need assistance.
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Old 05-06-2012, 03:46 PM   #12
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Argh - this happened to me - and I followed everyone's instructions - the wheel was spinning and the cam was free, but not lifting. We went to try jumper cables (it is a new battery and I thought could it be a power issue) - and after the fireworks, I realized the battery, otherwise looking exactly the same as the old one, had the poles reversed. I didn't even look at +/- because it was so much the same.
Once I turned the battery around, everything worked fine. The starter must have been spinning in reverse!
jim


Quote:
Originally Posted by tjcjnj View Post
I have a Murray lawn tractor with a Briggs and stratton engine. When I turn the ignition, the starter gear spins, but does not engage the flywheel to start the engine. Do I need a new starter, or is it something else.

Thanks
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Old 05-06-2012, 03:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DexterII View Post
Welcome to (as one of our moderators has been known to say) "the best doggone DIY site on the web".
While quite true, it is NOT a moderator that says that.....

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Old 05-07-2012, 02:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerMouse View Post
While quite true, it is NOT a moderator that says that.....

DM
Sorry; I offer the deepest apologies that I can muster, and actually recall realizing, shortly after posting, that I was thinking of the wrong guy saying that, but didn't think that it mattered enough to go back and edit it at that point. Then, after 6 months, erroneously assumed that it was water under the bridge. 2012 must be off to a really good start though if we have to go back that far to find a mistake!

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